Managing Your Google Storage

As a result of Google's storage model change, our campus no longer has unlimited, free storage in Google Drive, Gmail, and Photos. This change impacts all UCSC Google accounts.

Effective May 1, 2024, storage limits pertaining to Google Drive, Gmail, and Photos will be established based on a combination of an individual’s current storage usage and campus affiliation (faculty, staff, student, etc.).  

Ways to Reduce your Google Storage

First things first...


Reduce Your Google Storage 

Delete unneeded emails in Gmail
  1. Google has many search operators you can use to isolate email messages based on sender, label, age, etc.
  2. Automatically delete unwanted emails from lists:
  3. After you've logged into your Gmail account, search for emails with large attachments (OR copy and paste “has:attachment larger:2M” into your email search bar, click the "Enter" key).
    larger-2m.png
    • Download any important attachments to your computer. 
    • Follow the instructions below to permanently delete unneeded emails.

  4. Find old emails (OR copy and paste “older_than:5y” or “older_than:7y” etc. into the search bar, click the "Enter" key).
    older.png
  5. Delete everything returned in a large search:
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    • Check the "select all" box
    • Click "Select all conversations that match this search"
    • Click the trash can icon

  6. To delete items permanently, go to your Trash folder, select the emails and click the "Delete forever" button.

Note: Very large search results can take a while to delete and may time out. You may need to verify later that all results were indeed deleted.

For additional information about Google storage, visit Google's help support page.

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Delete unneeded files in Google Drive (My Drive)

The fastest way to lower your storage is to find large, unneeded documents.

Start by sorting your storage by the largest documents.

There are two steps to deleting your Google Drive (My Drive) files. 

  1. Select your Drive file(s), right click or click on the three action dots, then select "move to trash." 
  2. Go to your Trash located in the left side navigation, select the files, right click or click on the three action dots, then select "Delete forever." To delete all files in your Trash at one time, select "Empty Trash" located at the top right. 

See Google Drive support page for additional information. 

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Delete unneeded content in Google Photos

IMPORTANT BEFORE YOU DELETE: Un-sync your UCSC account before deleting Google Photos content or you might permanently delete your photos from all devices.

  1. Identify each device that you are logged into on Google Photos with backup enabled, including iOS devices, Android devices, and Windows desktops with Google Drive and Google Photos.
  2. Confirm that you have copies of the content you wish to keep either through Google Takeout or ensuring it is in your personal storage (i.e., an external hard drive or other cloud service).
  3. Turn off backup and unsync UCSC account on every device.
For Android or iOS:
 1. Open Google Photos app.
 2. Tap your avatar and navigate to "Photos Settings."
 3. Toggle off backup and remove your UCSC account if Google Photos is backing up to multiple accounts.
 
For Windows desktop:
 1. Open Google Drive.
 2. Click synced folder(s).
 3. Uncheck sync to Google Photos.

Deleting content:

Once backup is off and content is preserved:

  1. Select the photo(s) or video(s) in batches (<1500 items per batch) and click on the trash bin icon.
  2. Go to your Trash located in the left side navigation, select the photos/videos, then select "Delete permanently" located at the top right.
  3. To delete all photos/videos in your Trash at one time, select "Empty trash" located at the top right.

See Google Photos support page for additional information. 

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Google Storage FAQs

How do I find out how much storage I'm using?

Go to https://drive.google.com/settings/storage

What Google services impact storage limits?

Here are the services that add to your individual Google account storage usage:

  • Google Drive (My Drive) , including documents, sheets, slides, forms, images, videos, and PDFs. Shared Drive doesn't count toward your individual storage limit.
  • All UCSC Gmail messages, including attachments, Spam and Trash folders
  • All Google images, photos and videos stored in Google Photos

Google file types, such as Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides, videos, photos, and images toward your storage limit.

How do I know what my Google storage limit is?

Storage limits for all UCSC Google accounts pertaining to Google Drive, Gmail, and Photos have been established based on a combination of an individual’s current storage usage and campus affiliation (faculty, staff, student, etc.). 

How will I know when I'm getting close to my storage limit?

You will see an orange warning banner in Drive when you reach 80% of your storage quota and a red warning banner when you have 5% left. Click "How to free up space" to begin cleaning up your files.

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What happens if I reach my storage quota?

You will see a red warning banner in Drive when you reach your storage quota.

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If your individual account is at or over your allotted limit, you will not be able to edit existing documents or upload new items in Google Drive. Email will work normally. No content will be deleted. Once you remove content so that you are below your quota your account will go back to operating normally. 

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